UK economic output rose by 6.6 per cent month-on-month in July but was still 11.7% adrift of levels in February, before the full impact of the coronavirus pandemic was felt, writes Ian McConnell.

Gross domestic product, after a July rise which is the third straight monthly increase, is 18.6% above its April 2020 low, the seasonally adjusted figures published yesterday by the Office for National Statistics show.

Car makers and distillers achieved significant advances in output in July.

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ONS director of economic statistics Darren Morgan said: “While it has continued steadily on the path towards recovery, the UK economy still has to make up nearly half of the GDP lost since the start of the pandemic.”

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He added: “Education grew strongly as some children returned to school, while pubs, campsites and hairdressers all saw notable improvements. Car sales exceeded pre-crisis levels for the first time with showrooms having a particularly busy time. All areas of manufacturing, particularly distillers and car makers, saw improvements, while housebuilding also continued to recover. However, both production and construction remain well below previous levels.”

Comparing the three months to July with the February to April period, UK GDP was down by 7.6%.